Shark Tank: That would help

User complains her colour printer won't print yellow and helpdesk pilot fish is baffled: Everything is in order. Finally, user asks, 'Would it make a difference if I used white paper?' What colour paper are you using? fish asks. User: 'Yellow.'

          When a user complains that her colour printer won't print yellow, helpdesk pilot fish is baffled: The ink cartridge is new, and the printer self-tests fine. Finally, user asks, "Would it make a difference if I used white paper?" What colour paper are you using? fish asks. User: "Yellow."

          Well, that explains it

          Every morning between 8 and 9, there's a big increase in traffic on this US company's WAN link to Europe. Sysadmin pilot fish sniffs out the problem: "An engineer visiting from the UK was Telnetting into his Unix workstation in England and browsing the web from there," says fish.

          Engineer's explanation: "I wanted to use all my favourite bookmarks from home, and this was the easiest way to do it."

          Doughnuts and jam

          This newly installed $US20,000 networked colour copier jams first thing every morning, but service tech pilot fish can't find a problem. So one morning he shows up at the customer site at 8 -- to find the copier covered with doughnuts and the office manager leaning on the copy button, explaining, "We're warming them."

          Who needs it?

          After a weekend of remodelling her own office, human resources manager is in a panic: She can't get on the network to access materials she needs for a meeting in an hour. IT pilot fish hotfoots it over to the office and quickly spots the network cable unplugged from the wall. "Oh, I never use that phone line," HR manager explains, "so I don't need it plugged in."

          The long way

          Back in the 1980s, 100 programmers are working remotely in a fast-growing area, linked to a data centre by microwave dish. When their connection mysteriously begins going down a dozen times a day, pilot fish finally identifies the problem: A construction crane's arm is crossing the line-of-sight path between the dish and a microwave tower. "The crane operator couldn't understand why he was told to rotate his crane the long way around," sighs fish, "and couldn't take the shortest path, right through our microwave connection."

          Quiet, please

          Hospital's IT manager pilot fish gets Priority 1 call -- there's a PC beeping incessantly, and a nervous secretary has already put in a call to the bomb squad. But by the time fish rushes over, it's too late. "The secretary's co-workers had already 'disarmed' her PC," fish says -- by removing the stack of files sitting on her keyboard.

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